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Cue Card on track to defend Haydock crown

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Colin Tizzard

Colin Tizzard

Colin Tizzard

Last year's winner Cue Card heads a list of nine horses confirmed for Saturday's Betfair Chase at Haydock

The King George runner-up - trained by Colin Tizzard - could renew rivalry with Dynaste and Silviniaco Conti, a respective second and third in the Grade One 12 months ago.

Tizzard's stable star has had the benefit of an outing in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, as has the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti, which ran in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. The talented pair will be expected to improve for their seasonal debuts in which both horses were beaten.

Among the challengers are the David Pipe-trained Dynaste, which has not raced since finishing second to Silviniaco Conti in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree in April, while Charlie Hall winner Menorah could try to continue Philip Hobbs' tremendous run of form.

Other horses from the Wetherby race in at Haydock are runner-up Taquin Du Seuil, from Jonjo O'Neill's yard, and David Bridgwater's The Giant Bolster which finished last. The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Double Ross and Kim Bailey's Harry Topper complete the list.

Twiston-Davies' The New One is among seven left at the confirmation stage for the first running of the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle. Last season's Champion Hurdle third and Aintree Hurdle winner got off the mark for this campaign at Kempton.

Meanwhile, Willie Mullins could fire a twin assault on Ascot's major Saturday prizes after Faugheen and Ballycasey were entered for the Coral Ascot Hurdle and the Amlin 1965 Chase.

Mullins sent Annie Power across the Irish Sea to land the Coral Ascot Hurdle 12 months ago and has this year entered the unbeaten Faugheen. The six-year-old is one of 11 entries for the Grade Two, with Gordon Elliott's smart dual-purpose performer Bayan another potential Irish raider.

Ballycasey, a Grade One winner over fences as a novice, is among 11 horses in contention for the Amlin. Nicholls has entered last year's winner Al Ferof and Bury Parade, while Aintree winner Wishfull Thinking could represent man-of-the-moment Hobbs.

Irish Independent